Small Town America
by Gail Denham

It happened again, on that lonely main
street in the small town that was—
greetings shouted from the drug store
entrance, back in the time when streets
rolled up at five P.M.

The "hello" of a friend rings off buildings,
bounces from the wooden hardware store
door—that entry into nuts, nails, and small
tools, where your father once built an erector
set city in the window at Christmas.

The voice stays with you down past
a rough concrete tennis court where
you used clamp-on skates, past the library
where Mrs. Ward held court and probably
wondered if you'd ever reach the end
of the gothic books in stock.

The greeting warms you in your walk past
that rental where you lived across from
the high school, the house that also faced
your first elementary with the huge playground,
the joy place of swings, where dreams sailed
into twilight air before calls echoed
for dinner and homework.

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